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As the 2010-2011 NBA season is reaching it's halfway point, so is the equally exciting Chinese Basketball Association (CBA). Ok, so it's not equa....ok, so it's not very exciting at all. As an avid reader of this website, I'm sure you remember my post last year about former NBA All-Star, Stephon Marbury, taking his talents overseas to the Middle Kingdom, instantly becoming the best and highest-profile athlete ever to grace the courts of the CBA. He embraced the culture and the people and was embraced right back. Marbury's success last season led the CBA to do away with salary caps on foreign players in the hopes of luring other big name stars to China to play. More-than-casual NBA fans will recognize names like Steve Francis, Ricky Davis, Mike James, Fred Jones, Josh Boone, Antoine Wright, Javaris Crittenton, Quincy Douby, Stromile Swift, Randolph Morris and Rafer Alston. Unfortunately, half of those guys started out here, but were cut by their teams within weeks. But Marbury has thrived and here's an excellent article from New York Magazine that explains how he's made it and why he WANTS to be here.
New York Magazine - Marbury
The part about the food and English add to my confusion as to why every player doesn't want to play for Shanghai. It's by far the most foreign friendly city in China, possibly all of Asia (Singapore and HK, I didn't forget you). Add the fact that we have an American coach and strength and conditioning trainer, plus Yao Ming owns the team.
Can you spot the NBA All-Star?
Anyway, we went to see Marbury's new team, the Fo Shan Dralions (yes, seriously) as they visited the Shanghai Sharks yesterday. Marbury dominated his way to 43 points, but his sorry team was no help at all. He's still got the quickness, strength and body control. I'm obviously rooting for more big names to come play in China. Watching world class athletes in person from the 5th row is a different experience than seeing them on TV. If Carmelo Anthony really can't find a place to play.....
To make up for this testosterone-filled post, heeeeerrreee's JANIE!